There is nothing quite like a young professional with potential, high aspirations and a yearning to make a difference. But how do you turn aspiration into opportunity, and then turn opportunity into success? I recommend these five tips for young professionals of promise looking to turn their dreams into reality:

Listen and learn: I know that you’re well educated and have a lot to offer in the workplace, and I understand that sometimes your older colleagues might seem to you like old-fashioned digital
dinosaurs. But your more experienced colleagues have a lot of wisdom to impart. Take the time ask questions, share ideas and learn from elders and superiors what has been their formula for success. It
might not end up being the exact path you take, but you can always adopt some of the strategies of those who went before you into your own journey.

Work on weaknesses: The sooner a young professional identifies their weaknesses the sooner they can start addressing them head-on. Once you’ve identified your blind spots, you can work to improve upon them, or even surround yourself with folks whose strengths complement your weaknesses, and vice versa. It is always a positive to know what’s missing from your tool box. Because then, you’ll know how to make steps to fill the gaps.

Charting your path: From the outset, you’ll want to be strategic about where you want to end up and mindful about what you need to get there. Be intentional about your career, learn what kind of leader
you are early on, and start plotting the steps to achieve your dreams as soon as possible. The clearer the goals you set for yourself, the more likely you are to reach them.

Financial fluency: Don’t ever fear the math, because it will impact you in so many ways. Good credit and a solid understanding of finances can be absolutely key to achieving your dreams. And be sure to keep a solid handle on any student loans that might come your way. Far too often we see people mired in debt that they had not sufficiently vetted beforehand. Keeping a keen eye on your finances will
benefit you every step of the way. And remember: It’s never too early to start planning for your retirement.

Work ethic: Excellence, commitment, intentionality, and reliability. These are the four tenets I have applied in order to get to where I am today. Not only will these qualities help you when challenges fall
into your path, they’ll also ensure that you work smarter and not harder – making your journey much more manageable.

A young professional who focuses on self-awareness, preparation and discipline will be best suited to respond when opportunity knocks. Make sure you are training yourself accordingly so that you can take
it to the next level when your chance arrives.

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